Golden prospects for Rocky growth

ROCKHAMPTON has three golden opportunities to build a bigger population, an economics expert says.

CQUniversity professor of regional economic development John Rolfe said new population projections released recently were higher than previously expected.

New Office of Economic and Statistical research shows Rockhampton's population is expected to increase by more than 20,000 people by 2021.

The region's population is tipped to reach 138,933 by 2021 before swelling to 162,873 by 2031.

“Clearly there will need to be increases in infrastructure and services to match the new population growth,” professor Rolfe said.

“I think that Rockhampton has three strategic opportunities at present.

“The first is to become an important supply chain hub for the mining sector, particularly as more mines develop in the Bowen and Galilee basins to the west.

“The second is to be a major service and supply chain hub for Gladstone, and help to absorb some of the growth pressures from developments there.

“The third is to be a major population base for workforce in the resources sector, including a base for fly-in and fly-out operations.”

He said the growth would not occur by itself, but was dependent on the economic prosperity of the region.

“The council has been progressive in planning for higher growth rates over time, and I think the increased projections from government complement the council's position in identifying the potential for growth in Rockhampton,” Professor Rolfe said.

“Population growth in Rockhampton will be slightly below the state average, and some areas, such as Ipswich, are expected to have much higher growth rates.

“This means that the attention of government will be on providing infrastructure and services to these areas.

“It will be important to ensure that infrastructure and service needs for Rockhampton are well anticipated and registered early with government.”

Boom time

Rockhampton’s population is expected to increase by more than 20,000 people by 2021.

The region’s population is tipped to reach 138,933 by 2021 before swelling to 162,873 by 2031.

Across the state Ipswich is expected to be the fastest growing centre at 5% a year while the Gold Coast will have the most growth.

It will be important to ensure that infrastructure and service needs for Rockhampton are well anticipated.



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